“That the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn; that they in their turn might tell it to their children.” Psalm 78:6
As we were packing up our former residence several years ago to move to our current one, we discovered a few treasures that had long gone unnoticed. One was an old King James Bible that had belonged to my great-grandfather. At first I didn’t know what to do with it, but neither did I want to discard it. Dusty from sitting on a high bookshelf, its old leather binding cracked from age, but examining it I noticed pages that were tattered and worn from usage more than age. From a handwritten inscription I learned that it had been a Christmas gift to him from my grandmother and great-aunt in 1911.
My great-grandfather, Robert Boyle, died in 1924 long before I was born, so I never knew him nor a great deal about him. What I do know is that he was an Irish immigrant, moving his young family to the U.S. in 1889 where he established a sheep ranch in northern Texas. His grandchildren called him Grandpa, a touching coincidence since that is what my grandkids call me. In his younger days he had studied theology at the University of Edinburgh in preparation for ministry in the Presbyterian Church, but never pursued that profession. Yet, it does speak to his regular reading of scripture.
I do not know a lot of other details about his life other than these, except that I realized something I had never considered before when I discovered his old King James Bible. What my great-grandfather had done, unknowingly perhaps, was to leave a great legacy to his successors; for in reading the notes he scribbled in the margins and the verses that were dog-eared it is obvious he was a man of great character, high moral values, a student of scripture and a man of God. Now here it is a hundred years later, and he is still making a difference in people’s lives – namely mine. What a legacy!
How much, I wonder, do we consider our own legacies, the ones that really matter? Grandpa Boyle’s old Bible made me pause and give some thought to that. Will I leave that kind of inspired legacy that will endure a hundred years or more? I need to be thinking about that so “. . . the generations to come might know, and the children yet unborn . . .” As a reminder we have given his old Bible a prominent place in our home today where it lays open to that very scripture, Psalm 78.